The difference between skilled and unskilled leaders (leaders, scholars, generals, managers, teachers, masters, experts etc) during ancient or modern times is their understanding of concepts or lack of it. Just like what Laozi said in the TTC different grades of scholars exist depending on their understanding of Tao, Buddha’s exhortations in the Shurangama Sutra (Leng Yen Ching) not to rely on intellect to follow his spiritual teachings, and the differentiation between good and bad generals/leaders by Sunzi in his Art of War.
When we understand the often simple concepts of these sages, we can become wise or even great. Many skilled leaders down the millenniums became great and well known through posterity because they could better understand the ideas propounded by the wise. And it goes without saying that such leaders successfully implemented those sagely ideas before they made themselves a good name in history. Of course, modern leaders are also known for their own simple concepts and upon successful implementation of the ideas made them great. Good examples in this generation are Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and those successful in computer technology and internet searches. They use simple ideas and yet can become very wealthy or simply great. Not only their wealth is more than the foreign reserves of many a country, they tend to donate more than any to help the poor benefiting humanity that is why these rich philanthropists are simply great.
Often we muddle through concepts because we try to look sophisticated overanalyzing the true meanings behind simple ideas; thereby occasionally missing the woods for the trees. In work, mediocre managers tend to make the same mistakes and keep plodding on in the wrong directions until corrected by their superiors or owners of the businesses. If only they take the initiative to understand the ideas behind management then they can become good managers and leaders too. Once we are clearer about business concepts then we can implement them correctly. This is similar to cultivation of the three doctrines of Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist thoughts.
When we understand the underlying concepts we can cultivate the right things (virtues), once we found the right meditation (circulation of the light), we can meditate. After years of proper cultivation of this Light, we slowly realize that our actions become spontaneous and mysterious in reactions to every day life and in the work place. This according to Ziyang Zhen Ren is living in harmony with the light. With three corners of the mat lifted, perhaps you can lift the fourth to see what is actually underneath? Once you are able to see beyond self, you can come here to share with fellow travelers what you have seen.
In case, readers still cannot catch what has been said, a simple analogy can be made through martial arts. A martial arts student is taught moves on how to defend attack and counterattack. He or she goes through the same rigors daily. Years later the earnest student becomes proficient enough to do the same moves spontaneously. If this student who may have become an expert by now continues at it for a few decades, he or she could attain the highest level of proficiency in the art that of ‘Chu Shen Jin Fa’ and make magical moves like those of a spirit.
And all of these arose from simple concepts of human beings.
Gong Xi Fa Cai! A Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year to all readers!